Landgraf re-files ‘Monica’s Law’

January 4, 2019

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) re-filed legislation Thursday that could help prevent domestic violence and protect victims.

The bill, if passed, would create an online, searchable public database listing protective orders issued by Texas courts as a result of domestic violence. This would also provide law enforcement and courts with access to all information provided by protective-order applicants.

Landgraf initially filed the bill, which he calls ‘Monica’s Law,’ during the 2017 legislative session, but it was stalled in the Texas Senate after being passed by the Texas House of Representatives.

The inspiration for the bill came from Odessan Monica Deming, a 32-year-old mother who was shot and killed in her Odessa home by an abusive ex-boyfriend on Nov. 29, 2015. Two protective orders had reportedly been previously issued against him, but Deming’s father, Jon Nielsen, told Landgraf he and Deming were unaware of his history of domestic violence.

It was Nielsen, a former Odessa police officer, who first approached Landgraf about the issue, telling him he and his daughter would have known about the man’s domestic violence history had there been a database available.

“’Monica’s Law’ cannot go back and save her life, or take away her family’s grief, but it can help prevent others from entering into tragically abusive relationships that can lead to physical violence, and worse, death,” Landgraf said in a prepared statement. “That’s why I used every legislative tool available to get ‘Monica’s Law’ passed out of the Texas House last session and will do so again this session.”

Nielsen said Landgraf called him Thursday morning to tell him he re-filed the bill.

“I’m glad that this can come up for consideration in the legislature and get even more support than it already has, which is pretty big,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said this bill could not only be beneficial for the public, but could also be useful for providing more information for police officers.

“This way, that info could be accessed by headquarters and relayed to you about protective orders not only issued in this county, but other counties,” Nielsen said. “It may save the lives of first responders too.”

Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said the bill could be helpful in preventing cases of domestic violence.

“Any time you can give a tool to people to find out if who they’re dating has got a history of violence it certainly helps,” Bland said. “The more information someone has, obviously is better and I think it would advise them on what choices they make and what steps they would take.”

Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis similarly said he was in support of the bill, saying it could be a great resource for the public.

“It is my only hope and prayer that if some of these young ladies utilize that service once it’s adopted and active that they will take heed and not take that chance on that individual that has previously assaulted another individual in a relationship,” Griffis said.

Texas’ 86th legislative session begins Tuesday.

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